"The car has to be a step ahead of man" – a statement that sounds like a future scenario. When we are talking about highly automated driving, however, this is a necessity, because these cars have to be prepared for any situation in order to react correctly. Amira Abdellaoui works in the unit situation assessment for highly automated driving. In this interview, she reports on her tasks, her fascination with future technology and how she joined former Daimler via the Women Days event.
Hello, please introduce yourself briefly.
My name is Amira Abdellaoui and I am originally from Tunisia. I came to Germany when I was 18 years of age and began studying electrical engineering, specializing in communications technology, at the University of Stuttgart. During this time, I also studied in Paris for three semester to obtain a double degree specializing in satellite communications. I then wrote my dissertation here at the company on the topic of detecting driver fatigue.
How did you join Mercedes-Benz?
I joined the company via the Women Days event. Active exchange with employees is at the center of this event. As a participant, I gained exciting insights into areas such as the mobility of the future, digital services, production as well as research and development and I was also able to talk to managers about possible career opportunities. That was the beginning of things for me. I then started working as an engineer in the unit software development for driver assistance systems. Five years later I switched to the team for automated driving functions and am now responsible for situation assessment for highly automated driving.
Security and comfort are always top priorities!
What is situation assessment?
Situation assessment means that the highly automated vehicle recognizes relevant situations on the road and derives driving behavior from this. The car should automatically select, parametrize and carry out a suitable driving strategy. To recognize road and transport users and the road infrastructure, the various sensor features have to be optimally merged and used.
What does highly automated driving mean for you?
Safety and comfort always have top priority so as to offer the customer a holistic driving experience. On the one hand, we want to make driving as simple and pleasant as possible. On the other hand, we want to achieve even more safety in road traffic. We differentiate between partially automated and highly automated driving here. In the first case, the driver has full responsibility for assuming driving tasks but is supported by driving assistance systems. In the second case, the system can assume responsibility for certain scenarios. But this is still being developed.
What makes your job so exciting?
I am working in an environment with great potential for innovation. Our developments are directed to the needs of our customers taking into consideration all safety regulations. We want to offer the customer the best possible support. This makes my work so exciting and diverse. It is also interesting that we can test our results regularly at test drives. Last year I was in Los Angeles, USA on a test drive and this year I will be in Spain.
I work in an environment with huge innovative potential.
What profiles are increasingly sought after in your unit?
We have physicists, cybernetics and also engineers from very diverse units such as mechanical and electrical engineering in our team. We are a colorful mix. We are developing the software for the driving assistance systems ourselves at Mercedes-Benz and therefore we are currently on the look out for engineers who already have experience in software development.
Why did you choose Mercedes-Benz as your employer?
I have always been fascinated by the automotive sector. When I came into contact with the topic of driving assistance systems at Mercedes-Benz for the first time as I wrote my dissertation, I wanted to delve deeper into the material. I could see my professional future in this area right from the start. Participating in Women Days then made this possible.